It has been a week since our last update and we are now safely in Colombia, South America. After the failed attempts on reaching our boat, we had decided to fly the bikes and ourselves from Panama City to Bogota, Colombia. Flying is the most expensive option of getting the bikes across the Darien Gap. We always had budgeted to fly and if we managed to get a sail boat, the saving was going to be a bonus for our budget; however it is always good to have a Plan B.
As we had only decided to fly both the bikes and ourselves at the last minute, we hadn’t made any arrangements for the bikes or booked flights for ourselves. The four of us (Naomi, Alberto included) were literally going to wing it. I had read that in order to have the bikes air shipped, one would have to drain the gas and disconnect the battery. So on the day before, I decided to drain some gas out of both bikes and thought that I had left a sufficient amount to get us to the air cargo terminal, close to the airport. Well you know were this is going. On the way to the airport, Angela’s bike runs out of gas and she pulls over into a bus stop area. Naomi had given her gas away that she had in the jerry can that she carries, so I borrow the jerry can and go back a few km’s to the gas station that we just past and fill up $1.00 worth of gas. The attendant looked strangely at me for filling up a $1.00 and wished I had filled up $2.00 worth. So back I go and empty the gas into Ang’s bike and leave a bit in the jerry can as I had a nagging feeling that I was going to need it soon. We only went a few km’s further when my bike stops. Yup, that 35L gas tank of mine was now out. So I empty the few milliliters from the jerry can into my tank and prey that we make it to the Girag offices. Lesson to oneself – drain gas at the shipping place instead of prior. Once there, the waiting game began. We had to wait for the lady that takes care of shipping bikes to arrive.
|Angela shrink wrapping her bike|
|Killing time with alcohol|
Once we had confirmation that the bikes had landed, we had to have them cleared through customs and finally we were able to get them ready to leave which was an ordeal in itself. Cargo warehouses are set-up for cargo going from a loading dock directly onto the back of a truck and not for motorcycles. The staff set-up a make shift ramp for us to ride down to get onto street level. Clip courtesy of André - I ride both our bikes down the ramp.
Exiting Air Cargo Terminal from Daryll Naidu on Vimeo.
Our bikes were totally out of gas, so André headed off in the dark to find us a gas station and bring us a gallon of gas in the jerry can. He had gone a long time but finally returned with some gas for us to get going again. We were all really worried as it was now dark. While waiting at the terminal, another gentleman was also waiting for his goods and offered to lead us back to our apartment as Bogota traffic is a nightmare, let alone trying to navigate in the dark.
We decided to stay for a few more days in Bogota to recover from the last week and managed to visit the Plaza and Palace area. Xmas is in full swing and there is an ice-rink set up in the Plaza. Colombia has a reputation, however whilst walking around, we never felt threatened or in fear of our safety. The downtown core was bustling and the comfort of police officers and army officers on every corner put us at ease. As we wondered around the Palace, we came across a bomb explosive guy with his golden retriever and we couldn’t help ourselves but stop and take photos of the two of them. Beatriz and her family were extremely generous and hospitable and her cousin Alejandro took me to a bike shop where I had the brake pads on Ang’s bike replaced one of our free days. Following him through traffic was insane as he weaved his Honda Veradero through downtown Bogota traffic. Beatriz, her brother Felipe and her sister Virginia also took us to an upscale mall where we walked through one of the famous restaurants Andres de Res. It was on 4 floors with each floor decorated in a different theme and all the fittings were hand-made at their own workshop. We ended up having dinner at a market place and it was the most amazing meal I’ve had. Colombian food is amazing and it is about the best so we’ve had so far.
|A well trained Golden|
P.S. If anyone reading this has a Cardo Scala Q2 bike-to-bike communicator or can help us, we need some help. One of our units isn’t taking a charge and therefore cannot be used. Communication with each other is so vital for us and we cannot do without it.